Eni sells Zohr stake to Rosneft and gives Qatar a foothold in the Med

12/12/2016

Rosneft HQJust weeks after snapping up the Russian government’s stake in Bashneft for around $5bn and days after the Qatar Investment Authority and Glencore announced that they were to buy a 19.5% stake in the energy giant from the Russian government for $11bn, Rosneft was in the news again today as it announced that it had agreed to pay Italian oil and gas group Eni $1.125bn for a 30% stake in the offshore Shorouk concession. Zohr Oil Field
Located in Egypt’s Mediterranean waters, the concession covers the Zohr Prospect where Eni last year discovered gas deposits estimated at as much as 30 trillion ft³, making it the largest in the Mediterranean and possibly in the world. Eni said Rosneft would reimburse pro-rata investments already carried out by the Italian group to the tune of $450m. 
Rosneft’s new shareholders will have undoubtedly been aware of the impending acquisition before shelling out an eight-figure sum for their minority stake, and Qatar’s sovereign wealth fund in particular is presumably happy with the foothold that a stake in the Zohr field will give it in the Egyptian and Mediterranean energy markets.
arab spring cairoThe political upheavals that threw Egypt into turmoil since the 2011 Arab Spring saw the country’s natural gas production fall from a daily peak of 6.1bn ft³ in 2009 to 4.7bn cf/d in 2014, turning it from a net exporter of LNG to a net importer, leading to the rationing of supplies to energy-hungry manufacturers such as cement and fertiliser producers. The Zohr discovery was haled by analysts as a ‘game changer’ and, when the extent of the reserves unfolded last year, Cairo made it clear that it hoped to become the region’s next natural gas hub.
The financial and technical support that the Qataris and Glencore will bring with them should help it achieve that goal. 
Shares in Eni, which has embarked on a programme of divestments as it looks to lower its long-term debt burden, rose by 3% in the first hour of trading after the deal was announced.